The Trump Revenge Game You Can Play at Home

Of the many things written and said about President* Trump the one that has most struck me and stayed with me throughout the early days of his administration is that the man thrives on and is driven by a personal sense of revenge.

I am pretty well horrified by everything and anything related to this President and his administration: the next election can’t come quick enough and I realize even now this will be a long, painful voyage for many of us. And so it is that I decided to use the written word as a sort of meditation to bring myself some sense of peace and tranquility while living under a Trump presidency that is expert in its ability to wreak havoc and bring emotional pain and suffering to a great many of us.

My revenge is the composition of the inaugural address I imagine the next President might say to America and the world while the outgoing Donald Trump is forced to sit there, keep his mouth shut, and take it. For a man whose ego is as large as all outdoors and who adores the sound of his own voice, I thought a new President’s inaugural address (delivered to a crowd that dwarfs the size of Trump’s) that is a repudiation of everything the outgoing president stood for, might offer me a bit of good cheer at a time when it seems we have now entered the deepest, darkest part of a forest filled with an administration’s lies, religious persecution and intolerance, with a heaping dose of antisemitism added for good measure.

[Editor’s note: Every version of my address by our 46th President begins the same way — a pause before commencing the address, a turn and a long, steadfast glare in the direction of our outgoing 45th President and then a turn back to the lectern and the address begins…]

Every generation faces a crossroad where they must determine if their time is about themselves or their role as the custodian for their children’s future. Are the challenges we undertake, the problems we seek to solve, the kind of government we endorse is more about serving our own self-interests or the best interests of the generations that follow.

Today our country is at a crossroad: we can choose to continue the divisiveness and ultra-partisanship of these recent years and administrations or we can return to a better time in our country’s history and begin to heal by way of a willingness and obligation we have to one another as citizens to craft bipartisan solutions to the challenges we face as a society that — at its core — is borne of the belief that the best and most enduring legislation is inclusive of both sides of the political spectrum.

Today as we usher in a new era in American politics, the members of this administration will be ever mindful of its obligation to all the people of this great nation. For too long members of the Executive and Legislative branches of our government have forgotten a vital passage that is a part of our own Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag: with liberty and justice for all. We have spent the years focused on personal and party agendas and forgotten that the legislation and policies we craft have negative real world consequences for large swaths of our citizens, our planet, and for the generations that follow.

In years past our elected leaders have failed to grasp that the partisan legislation they have helped to craft has created a version of the world that they rejoice in living in but has also crafted a yoke of tyranny for those who would hold different views. Today we call on elected officials from Washington to the smallest communities that dot our great American landscape to firmly and resolutely correct course, put aside past differences, replacing the narrow agenda of an even more narrow worldview as seen through the prism of political affiliation and to join together in crafting commonsensical laws and public policy that embraces the rights afforded all of us under the Constitution.

Some see an American political landscape that is splintered beyond repair: I see a political landscape that has been jarred but remains unbowed in its collective dedication to patriotism and democracy. In both practical and conceptual terms the America we all know remains a great nation and a shining beacon of light and hope to many people from around the world. We have faced challenges before both from within and outside our borders but each challenge has produced a new generation of better, wiser leaders and citizens dedicated to the work of maintaining our uniquely American greatness. Today I call on that new generation of leaders and citizens to put country first, party second and join together to formulate new legislation and craft new public policies that endeavor at all times to embrace moderation, eschew partisan extremism, and finds the common ground that unites all of us as a nation dedicated to our mutual success and well being.

Today we embrace the hope and promise that is part and parcel of each new administration but we remain mindful that our recent struggles as a nation were borne of our shared failures as leaders and responsible citizens of our country and the world in which we all share. In this moment of shared reflection we must ask ourselves if we reflect our leaders or our leaders reflect us?

All of us have a shared responsibility to be good citizens, to abide by the laws that help govern us, and to pass along those same values to our children. But within each of us there must also reside a deep and abiding empathy, understanding, and willing acceptance that the values and core beliefs shared by other citizens of our nation have equal merit and are as deserving of respect and protection as those we call our own. That is at the core of what it means to be an American. This administration seeks to regain that essential element of what has helped our nation grow and prosper over the course of our history: the willingness to come together and coalesce around shared objectives and ideals as citizens in the company of our fellow man as we travel through the days and years of our lives on this planet.

For too long we have confused the projection of strength as real strength: we commend ourselves on our enlightened society but would seek to undermine the protections that should be the inherent right of people everywhere. We point to America as the standard bearer of equality yet fail to ensure basic equalities such as affordable access to higher education, equal pay, or the right of a woman to have the same control over her body as any man would have over his own. We sing the praises of our advancements in technology and our continued successes in fighting the ravages of disease yet decry any concerted effort to provide affordable healthcare to those we count as neighbors. Likewise we tout advancements in technology and industry but would seek to turn a blind eye to the impact of man on his environment. We have the audacity to teach the history of the United States in our schools and tout our rich history as a nation built of immigrants yet create physical barriers that separate us from our neighbors and stoke the illogical and irrational fear of an entire religion based on the actions of a minuscule portion of its population. We stand justifiably proud of our nation’s free press yet decry the vital role it plays in calling our officials to account and helping to preserve and maintain the trustworthiness and decency of our nation’s political system and its leaders. We point with immense pride to our judiciary and specifically our Supreme Court yet seek to stack our courts with like minded judges who will carry forth our uniquely partisan political agendas. And finally we have for too long touted our own enlightened approach to growing old in America when in truth we have continuously targeted two fundamental and highly successful government programs that are all about helping our nation’s seniors live with the dignity and respect they have earned.

Real strength is the ability to show empathy: the enthusiastic and determined willingness to embrace the difficulties and concerns of our fellow citizens as though they were our own. Real strength today calls for us to stop saying that our own struggles, concerns, and beliefs should be of paramount concern to our leaders simply because they belong to us rather than our neighbors.

Our leaders have been vigilant in crafting legislation for those times when everyone is looking. Today and on the path ahead we will focus on crafting legislation and policy that works in the quiet moments of our shared existence when only the few among us are looking: the fear and apprehension of a young man or woman who grew up in America but holds no status as a citizen of a country they love and have adopted as their own. The fear and apprehension of the illegal immigrant who now has children born in this country but fears the knock on the door from our nation’s immigration services. The quiet desperation of the twice-victimized child, man, woman or senior who seeks refuge in our country but has had the misfortune to come from a part of the world targeted by our own illogical immigration policies. The anxiety of an uninsured parent who worries that their family is one illness away from a lifetime of financial ruin. The constant daily struggle of a senior citizen who struggles with the affordability of food, a roof over their head, and the access to affordable healthcare options that are the daily concerns for far too many in our senior population. The fear and anxiety of a woman struggling with viable access to healthcare options that belong to her and her alone. The fear and anxiety felt by a man or woman in this country who has felt the sting of unemployment and wants for their family the same quality of life you want for your own. Today we stand resolute in our commitment to craft policy that works for the entirety of our population. To craft policy that works not only during the cymbal crashing cacophony of the hours, days, and months of crafting Executive Orders and congressional legislation in Washington but is especially suited in the empathy it displays for the quiet whisper of our shared days on this planet.

As we speak of our renewed vigor to stand with each of our fellow citizens we also send forth the word that we are likewise determined to stand resolute with our friends and allies from around the world. The America you know and have relied on as an ally in good times and bad is with you. From this day forward we say what we mean and mean what we say. Today and on the path ahead this administration will speak with one voice and with the respect and dignity each of you deserve. We also stand resolute in our willingness to stand side by side with our allies in the face of physical and cyber transgressions that would seek to threaten or disrupt the peace and safety of our allies and which is the right of every man, woman, and child on our planet. We hold no longing for conflict but today is also a day when we stand strong and say that America once again takes its watch at the vanguard of the community of nations who will fight for human rights wherever that struggle may exist.

For too long we have suffered leaders who have spoken but did not listen. Who used mass media including social media to talk at you, not with you. Moving forward on the path ahead we will listen to one another and formulate policy that works for all Americans. That is this administration’s pledge to each of you.
 Thank you. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

[Editor’s Note: the rules are simple — you can leave your version of the address in the comments section of my post at Medium. Use Trump’s name in your version? You lose. Reference his administration as something out of 1930’s/40’s Germany? You lose. Directly blame the ‘other Party’? You lose. Allow your address to fall apart and become little more than a personal, one-sided political rant? You lose. Length? Your call: here are some statistics on the length of inaugural addresses.]

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Originally published at on February 21, 2017.